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College of Engineering and Computing

  • Text on a garnet background reads two thumbs up award with three headshots of faculty and a cartoon cocky holdin up two thumbs

CEC faculty members get Two Thumbs Up

Faculty recognized for their impact on student success

Every year, the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) asks students to nominate faculty and staff across campus that have made an impact on their experience at UofSC for the Two Thumbs Up Award. The award serves as recognition and a “thank you” from students for all that a faculty member has done for them.

This year marks the second in a row CEC faculty have been nominated for their impact, as David Rocheleau was nominated for the 2019-2020 award, and two more faculty members have been nominated for 2020-2021: Computer Science and Engineering Instructor Jeremiah Shepherd, and Mechanical Engineering Senior Instructor Cyrus Riahi-Nezhad.

The Two Thumbs Up Award was established during the 2009-2010 academic year to thank faculty and staff across the UofSC campus that have advocated for students, encouraged them to participate, and changed perceptions of UofSC students with disabilities.

Students were eager to recognize the effort these CEC faculty members put in to make them feel at home, saying they have “always gone above and beyond to help in class and in office hours,” and are “always understanding.” While nominations are anonymous, it is clear that CEC faculty welcome all of their students with open arms and support them both academically and personally.

Olivia Greeley, a graduate assistant at the SDRC says, “We couldn’t create an equitable and accessible environment without the help of our esteemed faculty and staff.” These faculty and staff have not only made a strong impact on their students, but on UofSC as a whole.

She explains the SDRC’s goal is to “ensure every student knows they deserve equal access in all aspects of the USC experience.” The Two Thumbs Up Award nominees are recognized for embodying that mission. These UofSC members are making a true difference in the lives of students by going above and beyond for them.

Want to know more about the impact our faculty has made? Check out what some students had to say about the three CEC awardees.

Cyrus Riahi-Nezhad, Mechanical Engineering

Year Nominated: 2020-2021

“This professor has always gone above and beyond to help in class, and in office hours out of all my teachers he provides the most amount of office hours. He genuinely wants his students to do well in his classes and he is extremely thorough about going over the material before tests and reviewing it so that you understand it.”

“He is always been compassionate to me in particular and all those I know in the class with disabilities whether it is accommodating time or understanding students can't show up due to physical ailments.”

David Rocheleau, Mechanical Engineering

Year Nominated: 2019-2020

“He has always been an understanding professor. I recently took his CAD class and the test had to be taken on the computers in the engineering buildings, but he made sure I was comfortable as possible. He is such an awesome professor on top of that. He explains things to the class clearly and if someone has a question, he doesn't make anyone feel stupid or regret asking. He is such a great addition to the engineering department.”

“He was very understanding with my needs as a student with a disability. He has been such a flexible professor, always willing to help me reach my goals.”

Jeremiah Shepherd, Computer Science and Engineering

Year Nominated: 2020-2021

“He took time out of his day to accommodate for my needs, as well as communicated with me when I asked for help, or an extension on homework throughout the semester because I had fallen behind.”

“JJ was very kind and accommodating when I became overwhelmed with the amount of assignments I needed to submit... when I reached out he was able to make a plan and help me recover for the semester as well as I could. He allowed me to ask questions and also email him when I was able.”

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